Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller didn't mince words Saturday after a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena.

No forced smile. No stressing any perceived positives in a loss. Not after a third straight loss.

"We got outworked and they out-competed us," Muller said. "That's not acceptable. In a big game, in your own rink, they outworked us. They wanted it more and they won all the battles.

"In a big game like that, we've got to have more weight to our game. We can't accept that. Yes, we have injuries. Yes, we have guys playing out of their positions and that's tough. But there's not going to be any excuses.

"That's not acceptable."

The Lightning (9-7-1) did everything needed to win. Mathieu Garon, getting the start in net, had 32 saves in beating the Canes for the second time this season. Tampa Bay also ignited in the third period, scoring four times as rookie Richard Panik scored his first NHL goal and Steven Stamkos scored his 12th of the season.